Lighting the Fuse to Civil Rights

The Port Chicago Trial on Treasure Island
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In July 1944, a massive explosion at California's Port Chicago Naval Magazine killed 320 people, 202 of whom were black sailors ordered to load and unload explosives with no training and inadequate equipment. After the deadly explosion, fifty sailors refused to return to work and were charged with mutiny. They were tried and convicted on Treasure Island. Publicity around the disaster and the ensuing trial helped lead the way to desegregation of U.S armed forces.

This program at the Treasure Island Museum will present the Port Chicago story, and panel experts will discuss how these historic events contributed to the birth of the Civil Rights movement as well as pivotal racial and equity issues still being discussed today.

Reservations are suggested to ensure seating. Make a free reservation online at

Related exhibition: The Port Chicago Story is on view at the Treasure Island Museum from January 26 to July 7, 2019. It is presented by SFPL in partnership with the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Historic Site.

Banner image courtesy of Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial, POCH 27

Note: This event will be taking place at a location outside the San Francisco network of public libraries. For questions concerning the event, please contact the hosting library: Main Library.

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